"Agriculture is the Backbone of our Nation"

Saturday, 11 October 2014


"We know that unity can be and has been achieved among men of the most disparate origins, that differences of race, of religion, of culture, of tradition, are no insurmountable obstacles to the coming together of peoples." Emperor Haile Selassie I.

SHIRIKI, is a Kiswahili word which variously translates as '' to take part, participate, join in, share in, act in common, involve oneself”... you get the drift. It is a call to action, for ones to work in concert, so as to restore this earth and it's inhabitants to their original glory and majesty. Participation in what we and other like-minded people in the four corners of the globe are doing, we feel, is not a casual choice, but actually a natural obligation.
May I take this moment to give a brief breakdown of the situation on the ground so that one can discern ways in which to be a an active participant.
As you have gathered from the various updates, H.I.M Negus Shiriki Organization consists of a LIVICATED team of LIFE volunteers from all over the world, with a mission to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, nourish the sick, protect the infants and care for the aged . We are strictly non-religious, non -affiliated and non-economic mercenaries.
Volunteer Kristie, from Canada
We invite ones of the same heart, regardless of race, religion, gender or nationality to join hands with us in the tasks we have taken on. We mostly target to work with youth, to involve them in development issues. No `personal’ benefit is derived from what we do, yet, unbounded satisfaction comes from the knowledge that we are fulfilling our ultimate purpose. However, our works are progressive in all manner to the volunteers (members) and the public at large.
We have embraced work on different fronts.

With Agriculture, the main issues are re-establishing natural living, world food security, restoring land from the current chemically and environmentally degraded state, economic and social empowerment. Currently we have some three acres of land, on which we are working as a demonstration farm for natural agriculture. We have community outreach programs and are well recognized by the government administration and educational institutions. We also work closely with organizations which espouse the same values, such as Biovision, as well as individuals.
Sarah from Biovision helps build a compost heap
It is our intention to establish a full agricultural institution whereby youth, various farmers and people from all works of life can come and share knowledge. It will teach natural farming and living skills, arts, have farm based industries, cultural center, community radio and studios and a community hall. We are thus preparing volunteers through experience and education. We hope to continue sending more youth to college, so that they can qualify fornally as community educators. Currently we are making moves towards value addition and simple industry with the farm products, with an eye to spreading this knowledge amongst the communities we work with. The project will need bigger land when time is due.
We are open to receive volunteers at the farm.
Raksha and Daniella from the UK and Germany respectively
We have Education programs with different institutions and communities. Our efforts to reach out through media programs, school visits, seminars, farmer’s field days and other means continue to be effective and well received. Our latest education project is with the Muranga Juvenile home, where we will be sharing life, organic farming and art skillls with youth who are undergoing reahabilitation for delinquent behaviour. We are always looking to gather more teaching materials and aids, books, publications, presentation machinery such as projectors, laptops and so on.
More teachings
With Arts, we continue to produce artifacts of original and creative nature. The arts help instill patience among the youth, tap into natural talents, and provide an avenue for economic sustenance for those who are thus endowed. We share this knowledge through various forums and always keep an open door policy to those willing to learn. We seek more markets and exposure for these arts, as well as quality improvement suggestions.
A Sunday art class.
Musically, we continue to use this ancient medium as a powerful tool for community information sharing. It is our mandate to nurture talent and provide opportunities for exposure. One of the ways is organizing local and international events to bring people together. It behooves us to continue gathering more music and sound equipment to be effective. It is our on-going intention to enhance collaboration with like-minded artists and experts, and are happy to host those who wish to work in Africa.
Through Trade we get effective opportunities to interact with many people locally and across borders, and to exchange thoughts on real and tangible steps to lasting development. We get revenue to run the projects and set an example to the youth. We trade arts, farm products and products from our media and communication department. W e hope to carry on learning about the available trade opportunities so as to open them up for the work of talented youth, women and other productive community members.
The Media and Communications department is our link with the world at large. We have qualified volunteers producing documentaries, publications, connecting with mainstream media, and working the internet. Experts in this field are called upon to link up, so that we can enhance the available communication means. Well wishers are requested to donate any equipment which may be of help in this field.
Environment preservation and restoration is key to our work. In this field we have worked closely with the UNEP and other relevant organizations. Our environment endeavors involve public activities such as tree planting, cleanup exercises, community education forums, themed music concerts, use of natural products, organic farming and sharing of nutritional information.
Volunteers take a breather during a community clean-up exercise
Since the work targets all aspect of LIFE, there is no limit to the ways in which one can participate and contribute. It is actually our understanding that these are tasks and duties which befall humanity and thus coming together for this will not only create a better world but also provide a warm atmosphere for spiritual growth.
There are four levels of membership; individual, group, corporate and life. Please contact us on our e-mail address (, to learn about how you can join in as member, or to suggest ways in which you feel you can participate. You can also leave a message on our facebook page (Shiriki Kenya).
Perfect Love always.

Thursday, 25 September 2014


Our admiration for the Creator's handiwork should not be limited to those things He has provided us with for our daily needs, but should include all that is good and beautiful. It is these feelings of deep and silent admiration evoked from our hearts that should find adequate expression in the fine arts.” Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Blessed Love to All.

You will have noted our stated intention above, to utilize agriculture and art as the main keys to opening up the community towards a sustainable way of life. In this article, we explore ways in which application of art is proving crucial.
 Just as art is in every way in which Life divulges herself unto us, so it is in the way we express our perception of Life.

At Shiriki organization, every volunteer has the opportunity to bring out their artistic side. Some came in with the actual intention to enhance their already existing art skills, while others have pleasantly surprised themselves with their hitherto unexplored capabilities.

That art holds such a central position within the organization and amongst the individual volunteers is testament to various factors;
  • Art being a natural inclination within us, reveals itself through explicit awareness, or through the inner search, where you find a whole faculty lying dormant. 
  • Art is an universal reflexion of culture. Through carrying on the ancient traditions of artistic expression we maintain a cultured outlook, civilization. Sharing these skills generously ensures that this aspect is carried forward for the benefit of posterity.
  • Owing to the fact that worldwide there are people who appreciate art, it opens up the economic possibilities of trade.
  • Art has proven a reliable catalyst for social interaction, from whence unlimited vistas of cooperation open up before our very eyes.
The artists
At Shiriki Organization, we have been graced with various artistic skills. Among our products are clothing items, covering you head to toe; hats, scarfs, tee shirts, khaki suits, sweaters, skirts, belts, and shoes. Our sandal industry is especially progressive. Most of the items mentioned above are hand work, made through weaving, loom work, crotchet and screen printing. The sandals mostly incorporate recycled car tires.

Their products
Other art include mosaics and painting. We make the mosaics using various materials, organic and otherwise; plant fiber, seeds, ceramic tiles, glass, marble and granite. With these we do wall panels, walls, floors, flowerpots, vases, furniture and more. We take public and private commissions, size no limit. Currently the volunteers are making a forty square meter mural for a cathedral, out of granite .
Street art-making mosaics
The finished product- masaic on Parliament road. Nairobi
 The volunteers also make top level jewelery using locally available materials such as bamboo, seeds, fiber and natural stones. The items include necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings. Others are made from glass beads. Adorn yourself.
Handwoven bracelets
Graphic design is also a part of what we do. The various IT skills help us in the designing of clothes, posters and publications.

There are other art skills we may not have mentioned here. The volunteers are open to learn always. To teach too. We therefore have arrangements for sharing these skills especially with the youth. The lessons happen either through the learners coming to us, school programs or our outreach community visits.

Shiriki Organization, being a volunteer arrangement, means that it has been mainly up to the members to establish and maintain sustainability and organizational progression. Art has so far been the main means through which we earn economic sustenance. Out of this we are able to fund the day to day, as well as long term plans, from member contributions. Art has been without doubt key to our endeavors to uplift and raise consciousness among our communities.

Out of the foregoing, please note that any item of art you buy from us goes towards the operations of the organization as well as to the personal development of the artist. Currently we have opened up the local markets, where people are giving good support. We also attend trade fairs throughout the country, and hold exhibitions of our own. While we have been able to trade with a few international markets, this is still an area with much potential. Should you, Dear Reader, have any suggestions, do not hesitate to wise us up.

\Sample hand woven sandal
From our experience so far, there are unlimited opportunities for art to provide economic means to community members across the board. As long as youth can learn and develop art skills, there are openings.
Ras Otii waving a mat
 Most importantly, we have also been working with other artists, especially women, young and old, learning, providing materials and helping market their products. They make Kiondo bags, weave mats, crotchet work, sewing and even making clay beads. It is a big strength all round. Whoever thought such skills are still within our people, only lacking means of exposure?

In our next post, we shall expound further on the ways in which you can actively participate in the various tasks we have taken on.

Till then...AMANI.

Sunday, 7 September 2014


Man's contribution's which live to influence the life and progress of posterity, are the most permanent monuments which can ever be created. We must become increasingly willing to examine our efforts, to experiment, to admit our failures as we take pride in our successes.” Emperor Haile Selassie I.

Greetings all, from rainy Maragua! Giving thanks for LIFE, ever precious.

A family meal
The farmer is rightly famed for wisdom. The esoteric quality of being able to read signs and seasons. The ability to determine the exact time for sowing, and subsequently reap a bounty and feed the nation. The oneness with the ordered nature.

What perchance happens, when the long-trusted weather patterns suddenly go haywire? Rains in February and the sun in July? Well, in this modern age, the suits and skirts rush into almighty countless conferences held in far flung venues, to debate the new 'climate change' phenomenon. The poor man's burden. But what about our wise farmer?

These are some of the issues confronting the tillers of the land, as we experience an unprecedented wet September, a month which is traditionally identified with scorching weather. In tandem with modern weather patterns in many parts of the globe, the continued mix up of seasons has many farmers in a mad rush. Not quite the normal dignified gait.
Tilling the land
Take this last February, for instance. We got rains in February, one and half months before the conventional planting season. No one knew whether the rains would continue or soon cease. Eventually, farmers ended up second guessing, leading to good harvests for some and woe for those who mistimed.
Ras Ambasa tends to sorghum
September is right after the harvest. Farmers have up to mid October to prepare for the new season, while drying up their grains and seeds in the abundant sunshine. Well, not anymore. It is already raining THINGS! You will now find groups of community members huddled by the roadside fiercely cerebrating on whether to plant or not. Because you cannot afford to buy seeds twice. Regardless they do have to buy seeds, having abandoned the old ways and embraced the laboratory seeds being distributed by government ministries and other sellers. The second generation of these seeds is usually too weak to replant.
At the Him Negus Shiriki C. B. O's farm, it is fortunately not so much of a dilemma. This is for one, owing to the fact that we have inter-cropped the farm with a good variety of crops. The short-timers, seasonal, annuals, biennials, perennials and so on. This ensures that sowing and reaping is a continuous exercise, regardless of season. In contrast, many farmers have been caught up mono-cropping, inevitably maize around here, heavily relying on nature's inclination to keep time.

Providing employment for local youth
Secondly, we have maintained a policy of only planting original seeds which have not been interfered with. This way, as it has been for millenniums, we are able to replant the harvested seeds, crop after crop, to good effect. Through local, regional and international networks, we continue to uplift seed exchange and preservation endeavors.

Thirdly, irrigation. For the earth to restore a secure sustenance for it's inhabitants, it calls the farmers to liven up and install themselves on their land parcels throughout the year, as opposed to waiting for the seasons. This is through individual, communal and government efforts to ensure there is access to water, with which ones can farm. Wells, boreholes, reservoirs, dams and conscientious utilization of rivers and lakes.
Ras Nganga and helpers, preparing tree nurseries 
Meanwhile, on the nine o’clock news, the latest conference, to brainstorm the causes and solutions for the changing weather patterns. Cocktails after.

On the ground, the farmers just have to figure things out for themselves. Wisdom does get severely tested, yet you can always count on it to prevail. There are really no two choices to that.
Ras Seru with a Hibiscus harvest
May the rains shew countless BLESSINGS, upon you all, diligent servants of the life-nurturing soil.


Tuesday, 19 August 2014


"The people themselves must come to realize their own difficulties in the development of their community and try to solve them by collective participation following an order of priority and taking their potentiality into account. " H.I.M Haile Selassie I.
It is with full joy that we at Shiriki (H.I.M. Negus Shiriki Community Based Organization), take this opportunity to utter thanksgiving for continued well-being and tangible progress.
First to the Divine, the Infinite Intelligence that guides and orders LIFE.
The Volunteers
Shiriki organization represents the manifestation of the willing hearts of a number of youthful and courageous volunteers who have been brought together by a desire to be instruments of service. We have been graced with the strength to persist through the challenges and triumphs that such a choice brings. Our field of service is unlimited. However, we realize that through addressing issues relating to the basics-food, clothing and shelter, a foundation for a peaceful and ultimately livable earth are laid. We further recognize the paramount position of agriculture in the provision of these needs, which in themselves determine our very survival.
Unbounded appreciation for the efforts of the Shiriki volunteers who continue to keep this fire burning.


In subsequent posts, we shall be profiling the different volunteers, so that you may get to know them better.

Volunteers Kristie and Githaka enjoying a sugarcane break
The Mission

Having gained valuable experience working with communities in the Kibera slums of Nairobi and in the hot climes of Kitui, eastern Kenya, the year 2012 saw us embark on this mission, in Maragua, Central Kenya.
A well-wisher, who is a prominent world personality in the establishing of sustainable communities, offered us a three acre piece of land. This was in response to our wish to set up an institution where knowledge on natural farming methods can be disseminated. We heartily embarked on this endeavor, knowing that this will be an opportunity to continue learning, especially from practical experience and the traditional wisdom. To provide hope for the youth. To stoke the embers of long forgotten community cooperation and self-help and to demonstrate solutions on how people all over the world can take control of their own destiny.
This is an appreciation for all those who have supported and continue to strengthen these efforts in myriad ways.
Ras Ng'ang'a sharing skills
The Method

We came to this place with various educational experiences, practical knowledge and unrestrained zeal. Most of all, with an open mind. The PLAN, to utilize all we have on our side, especially day to day divine guidance, so as to stimulate a renewed push in this community towards a long term consciousness of their natural capacities and responsibilities. Thus eliminating the unfortunate scourge of hunger, disease and illiteracy, same of which plague man's efforts to live a fuller and healthier life.
Our task then involved the physical efforts of reclaiming this farm which had long been unused, imbibing crucial lessons along the way from the experience, from our neighbours' collective involvement on the land and from published information which would help restore this parcel as a natural food source. Without use of harmful chemicals, GMOs, all any other human efforts to circumvent and shortcut life's processes.
Ras Muthui tends to tomatoes

Our appreciation to the community here at Maragua, who have embraced us with so much love, and who continue to be most helpful and willing. Together we grow to higher heights still.

The Progress
It is now getting to three years since the Shiriki volunteers have been at the Maragua farm. Broken down, the first year was spent settling in, with all the hard physical labour to reclaim the land. Not to mention the day to day challenge of providing sustenance for a number of hungry volunteers. As well as integrating in a completely new environment.
Wambui and Kristie preparing cowpea greens for dinner
The second year involved much trial and error to identify the suitable crops for this land. Not just ones which can grow here, but those which have proved over generations to ensure long term food security, nutrition, favour the climate, replenish the soil other than drain it. Those that have capacity to be foundation raw material for local industries. For these purposes we identified ground foods like cassava, arrowroot, sweet potato, grains such as sorghum, legumes such as green gram, cow peas and pigeon peas. Other foods include local vegetables such as amaranth, spider herb, African nightshade, ' murenda' , mitoo and others. Hibiscus, Bananas, sugarcane and various fruits and fruit trees- passion, guava, avocado, mango, papaw. Herbs and spices, lemongrass, garlic, chillies, ginger, coriander and onion.
Ras Muchina plants papaw

The third year has been more settled, with the volunteers now taking time to green up the land with the aforementioned foods and enjoying a good supply of nourishment from the parcel. It also represents a period where we are reaping the benefits of good community relations, with the people, the government authorities, non-government institutions,schools and hospitals all willing and happy to work hand in hand with us. The period has also seen us receiving and working with more volunteers, especially local youth. The farmers from this and the wider community also continue showing great interest, and reaching out for knowledge and seed exchange.
Indigenous vegetables  (Mitoo)

The Position
The mood at the 'camp' is upbeat and determined as ever. The experience and the inner growth, adds a spring to a sure step. Dear Reader, do not hesitate to be a part of this energy, should it resonate with you.
Our current position is a readiness to take the project to the next phase. This is the where we address the issues of surplus, preservation of harvested food, and economic independence. It will be done through local industry, value addition. With the farm products we are now well placed to dry, mill into flours, bake, pack, juice, and trade.
Garlic and Sugarcane at the farm
For this, we will require certain facilities, including a food drier, baking oven, flour mill, and cane juicer. Currently the volunteers are researching on the suitable options for these, as well as raising the funds for their purchase. It is our intention that the model we are setting here be suitable for replication, both locally and internationally, so that working in concert, the world communities can continue to be sustainable and in harmony with our ecosystems.
We invite you to freely share your views and comments.
Thank you.

Friday, 12 October 2012

One Year on; Still Going on Strong

by Ras Benaiah Gicuki
It’s now slightly over one year since Shiriki Organization initiated a community project at Maragua based mainly on natural farming techniques. The project was started with a long-term objective of establishing a community agricultural training centre which would be of benefit to the immediate as well as the neighboring communities. Our immediate goals are to ensure food security and environment conservation and restoration, to be achieved through seeking natural and modern methods of agriculture.
So far, we wish to express lots of gratitude first to the Almighty Creator who has been our primary inspiration and source of life, then to the community of Maragua area which warmly welcomed us to be part of them despite being total strangers to them, and also to all people near and far who have assisted us in a way or another or who have keenly followed our progress. Without your support and cooperation, our highly esteemed ends will remain only but a fleeting illusion!
To have rehabilitated an almost 2-acre coach-grass infested parcel of land, and put it under an intercrop of indigenous food-crops, trees and herbs without the use of chemicals; this could not be achieved by lazy nor rash men. This, again, could be nothing short of a miracle before the eyes of local farmers who apparently cannot bear the burden of the expensive and intoxicating chemicals imposed upon them by capitalistic investors in the agricultural sector.
Then - early in the project
Now - a plot of Ethiopian kales and spinach

Natural farming, as compared to chemical farming where a farmer can easily eliminate a given pest, weed or disease and can maintain a luxuriant field of crops, calls for patience coupled with a high sense of consciousness and discipline. These God-given virtues are quite uncommon among the youths of today, but I believe they are inherent in all humans for man is made in the likeness of the Creator. Additionally, for one to embark and stand resolute in organic farming, it is equivalent to entering into a battlefront where one’s strength of arms and determination really matter. This being so, it calls for unified efforts at the onslaught, this backing an old adage that ‘unity is strength’. We can therefore proudly attribute our progress so far to the Inity (unity) of brothers and sisters having a common interest of restoring our land and wealth. An ancient elder, when sharing his wise-mind the other day, found us tilling the field when he remarked that a home without the young men is always vulnerable to attacks. The interpretation to this is that through the massive exodus of youth from the rural to the cities and towns has left the aged and a few youth remnants to be easily deceived into use of chemical. And it is clear that the more the knowledgeable and strong youth continues to be away from the land, the worse the situation gets, meaning it will take much more sacrifice to restore sanity in this occupation. 

Organic & Inity! the only strength to overcome 'deadly shortcuts'
Chemical! lush cucumbers at the neighbor's
It is not the strength nor the will, nor the determination of those who fight us that will lead to our downfall but the weakness of our unity. This wise teaching has been a constant source of encouragement to nurture the seed of Inity (unity) which the Almighty JAH in His Love has sown within our hearts.
Loyal Volunteers

Our two latest volunteers, Ras Mwangi and Ras Mathaara, who entered the camp in mid July, have grown in this communal Livity to become epitomes of spirited and disciplined young farmers. The couple abandoned the dull lives they were used to back in the ghetto when they realized the need to serve the community through Shiriki Organization and thus reap the mutual and manifold benefits.

“I have Livicated myself for an indefinite period of time and I&I want when I break from the camp to have graduated in this institution of natural way of life…” says Ras Mwangi, adding, “One of my first lessons was how to irrigate young crops. The brother guided I on how to water young beans, and now to see the fruit thereof it heals I&I!” This he says as we harvest the first fruits of indigenous beans that is currently nourishing the volunteers.  For Ras Mathaara, he hardly leaves the farm, tending the humble plants.
It is within that first year of our activities in the farm at Maragua that we have seen one of our highly cherished visions come to fruition – that of acquiring expert training in food production and farm management. In this vein, Ras Rukundo, a volunteer whose Livication has been of immeasurable value, embarked on an expert training course in Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in the prestigious Baraka Agricultural College, Molo ( The 18-month course is just but the beginning of a long-term venture of seeking and sharing expert knowledge in the agricultural value chain and rural development.

Ras Mwangi (L) and I on a beans harvest
Ras Rukundo with a local family.
Experience is the best teacher, so the saying goes, and it can’t fit better than in the enterprise of farming. The one year that we have been in the field has taught us crucial lessons that will guide us in future seasons. The lessons span right from seed to fruit, entailing land preparation, techniques of breaking seed dormancy, sowing and spacing, watering and caring, pest and disease control, as well as harvesting and preserving. By now, we have been able to study a few of the crops with their respective potentials, all this with an aim of identifying the best suited ones for this area that will lead us to processing and packaging the surplus thereby reviving agro-industries in the rural communities.
Beans under irrigation have given us a very positive result, while cassava which we planted right on our arrival and have kept planting on daily basis has been to us like an underground food-bank. Comphrey, Ethiopian kale and spinach add to this list. They have only mild pest/disease attacks, these being the daunting enemies in the course of production. On the flip side we have had corn for the April – August season, which was a poor performer not only in our farm but also to the majority of farmers in Kenya. Consequently, we’ve decided to reduce investment on maize and try sorghum in the forthcoming season for sustainability. Myself I look forward to the day when this highly dominating food-crop, and which is so demanding in terms of input, will cede its dominance and allow for the restoration of Afrikan indigenous cereals such as the nutritious millet and sorghum, just but a few examples.

A good performance of beans under irrigation
Indigenous bananas and cassava plantation

With the coming of a new season whose rains are increasingly showing the signs of arrival, and with the beginning of the second year of our project, our vision of a sustained Afrika slowly comes to reality. We, who have advanced in this mission, have vowed not to relent in our efforts until all the hungry are fed. We urge fellow youth to take up agriculture as a learning course and as an occupation, knowing that despite its neglect and the sabotage upon farmers, without farming there can be no food which is the stuff of life for all. 

“If only [Ethiopia], with an assured wealth of natural resources, would look at what the barren Sahara Desert has been made to produce by the endeavour of trained scientists, she would realize that science is a source of wealth.” H.I.M. Haile Selassie I

Papayas! a potential crop for juice industry

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Guiding Instructions: Utterances of the King of Kings

by Ras Benaiah Gicuki

Greetings of Love to all our beloved readers the world over.

Towards the end of last month, July, the whole world came together to commemorate the 120th Birthday of His Imperial Majesty Qedamawe Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

To us at Shiriki Organization, it was more than a birthday celebration of a great leader; it was a moment of spiritual retreat in order to reflect on our relationship with our Lord. Ever since accepting the responsibility of running the business of the Imperial Government of Ethiopia at about 24 years of age, His Majesty Haile Selassie I’s utterances have been of much needed guidance to entire humanity around the globe in virtually all fields of life. The copiousness of His speeches, which are recorded in volumes in different languages, reveals the King’s wide scope of His perspective and the depth and breadth of His knowledge.

Therefore, it is the duty of every volunteer at Shiriki Organization to study and seek overstanding of the utterances of His Majesty, for besides HIM being a Government leader He is also a Spiritual Father. It is a fact that we, who are called by His name, Rastafari, authoritatively say that the speeches of the King of Kings are the Now Testament.

It is my pleasure, thus, on this post, to share these wise sayings as He remarks and instructs us on matters pertaining to Agriculture.

H.I.M. Haile Selassie I, King of Kings & Lord of Lords.


A country and a people that become self-sufficient by the development of Agriculture can look forward with confidence to the future. Agriculture is not only the chief among those fundamental and ancient tasks which have been essential to the survival of mankind, but also ranks first among the prerequisites to industrial and other developments.

History can afford us ample evidence that mankind abandoned its nomadic way of life and developed a settled, communal economy only when man became skilled and competent in agricultural techniques. From the beginnings of recorded history, right up to the Middle Ages, and even as late as the beginning of the Industrial Age in which we now live, agriculture has always constituted the fundamental source of wealth for the human race.

Only when a solid agricultural base has been laid for our country’s commercial and industrial growth can we ensure the attainment of the ultimate goal of Our development program, namely, a high standard of living for our people.

Commerce and industry, being concerned in the main with development and distribution, can only develop and profit from existing resources, but cannot actually create things which did not exist before.

Even in this nuclear age, in spite of the revolutionary changes in man’s way of life which science has brought about, the problem of further improving and perfecting agricultural methods continues to hold a position of high priority for the human race. 
It is hard to believe that a substitute can be found for the occupation of agriculture – a sacred task graciously conferred upon man by JAH to serve as the source of his wellbeing and basis of his wealth.

Agriculture and industry are indispensable one to the other. Only close cooperation between these two branches of knowledge can guarantee the fulfillment of Our program of economic development for Our country.

As we have already made it clear to you in Our previous statement, capital is an essential prerequisite for initiating all undertakings, whatever their nature. We have, therefore, made credit available for you which, when properly used, would enable you to achieve your development objective in the fields of agriculture, forestry, stock breeding, health services, and in the sphere of other development programmes.

Nov. 3rd 1959

For those of you who possess the land and labour but lack capital, we have made credit available at low interest. For those of you who have the necessary finance but do not possess land to work on, We have, in accordance with Our proclamation which entitled every Ethiopian to ownership of land, established offices in every province through which you may be able to acquire land. Those who have neither land nor money will be granted land and a financial loan at low interest. For those of you who possess the land, who have financial resources and manpower We have made experts available to furnish you with the necessary guidance and advice in your various undertakings. With the knowledge that unity and cooperation are themselves strength, take advantage of the possibilities that We have opened to you.

Nov. 3rd 1959

Agriculture, the backbone of the nation’s economy, has received its proper share of attention in Our Government’s planning. Intensive efforts are being made to improve farming techniques. The cotton project at Tendaho is moving out of the experimental stage. Enlarged veterinarian services will improve the quality of Ethiopia’s cattle, thus multiplying many times over the wealth which exists in the country’s livestock population…

A coordinated locust control project, undertaken in common with neighbouring countries, promises to reduce, if not immediately to eliminate entirely, the ravages which this insect pest has inflicted in the past upon Ethiopia’s crops. Grain storage facilities are being constructed which will serve to guard against the economic and social disturbances which arise when shortages occur. Measures will shortly be proposed to Parliament for action to be taken to preserve, for the benefit of present and future generations, the nation’s forests which are not only valuable in themselves as a source of wood, but act as nature’s guardian against the forces of erosion, which, unchecked, can transform fertile areas into barren and sterile desert.

 Jul. 19th 1958

It is a matter of great concern for Us that the forest wealth which God in His mercy has bestowed upon Our country is thus being continually reduced and wasted. Hence it becomes the duty and obligation of every single Ethiopian to become aware of the tremendous industrial and agricultural advantages to be derived from Our forest resources, and to practice tree-planting, in order that Our hills and plains which have been stripped of their wooded cover may once again be clothed in their green mantle.

The increasing pace of deforestation and the growing dearth of timber in Ethiopia, caused by unregulated tree-cutting and the failure to replace these by new plantings, give Us occasion of anxiety that a severe economic problem will confront the coming generations. It is essential that steps be taken here and now to stop this wastage and check this destruction.

It is Our wish and Our desire that each and every citizen of Our country follow the example We set on this Arbour Day in planting this tree, and himself plant as many as he can, for his own benefit as well as for the benefit of future generations.

Jul. 23rd 1960

Every structure must be built on a solid foundation, for those constructed otherwise would soon collapse. The proclamation by which We made land grants to the entire Ethiopian people is the foundation of this scheme. Recipients of land grants as well as those who had previously owned their own holding do not by mere owning of such land satisfy the requirements. They must make proper use of the land not only for their own benefit but as well to that of the people – We shall not permit any land to be fallow.

Our forefathers had fought to preserve the independence of Our country so that we may be able to exploit its rich resources, thereby enriching ourselves but not so that it may lay barren as to excite the envy of others and invite again the usurper. 

Therefore, in order to escape from such a catastrophe which become a lazy leader and lazy followers, it is Our duty to teach Our people to labour unceasingly for the development of Our country and to struggle for the attainment of a decent standard of living. For, there is no need of education to the wise nor doctors for the healthy.

Nov. 2nd 1961

Ethiopia cannot, as some would suggest, look to industry for funds. Without agricultural expansion, industrial growth is impossible. Great strides, it is true, have been made in introducing industries into Ethiopia in recent years. But in any less-developed agrarian country, possessing only limited possibilities for selling the products of its factories in world export markets, industry can grow only if there exists an increasingly prosperous rural consumer population. Industrialization is not an alternative to the development of agriculture; rather the development of agriculture is the essential pre-condition to the growth of industry.

The fundamental obstacle to the realization of the full measure of Ethiopia’s agricultural potential has been, simply stated, lack of security in the land. The fruits of the farmer’s labour must be enjoyed by him whose toil has produced the crop.